Meet Mem0-By Brady

Doing great, pirate, stay the course! 🙂  Hello, my name is Mem0….I’m a Clown fish and I live in a sea anemone.  No, I am not related to Nemo who became famous over some stupid movie filmed on the Great Barrier Reef, about 700 miles away. I’m only a few years old but I know that my home is a special place.  There are always people that come and visit!  I can hear the engines above me get louder and louder until they stop.  I know that when the engines stop it is only a matter of time before the visitors arrive!  I live near an island called Tulagi in the Florida Islands, part of the Solomon Islands.  Apparently there was a lot of fighting and war that my great, great, great, great grandfather experienced ages ago, but everyone says he was a crazy old man so who knows? My insane grandpa always tells me my home is very important and I am lucky to have such a nice neighborhood to live in but I don’t know what to believe because most of my friends live on the outer reef and say that it is very nice too.  Maybe you should know about my village history….  I live on a Kawanishi flying boat also known as a “Mavis”.  There are many fish that live here but I live near the bow of the plane in the cockpit!

My village is so nice.  We have fresh current all day for food, tons of places to hide, lots of light and many visitors.  Some days I stare at the controls and gauges and drift off, thinking of my crazy ancestors and their stories of planes falling from the sky.  I want to be a pilot someday!! But not one in a war.  My home was one of many Japanese flying boats that swam the sky during WWII.  On the 7th of August 1942 my home, which was then still able to swim, was hit by American dive bombers and sunk here.  That was almost 70 years ago!  It seems strange to me that people come here just to see where I live.  They come down from the light with big metal things strapped to their back, they make a lot of noise, try and shove their way into my cockpit and always seem to hold these strange square things that flash at me!  Why do they look so intensely at the back of these things??  Flash after flash until they swim, or should I say try to swim, away.  Most of them look like my little brother when he was born.  They bang into things and are very uncoordinated.  All I want is to see the other side of the sky; where the visitors come from.  My dad says if I see that part of the sky it is the last thing I will ever see so I better be careful what I wish for!  RIP uncle Lemo….Ill take my dads word for it and stay here in my beautiful home for now.

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Mem0…..He has such wonderful life.  He can hang out underwater all day and never have to come up for air.  If only we were like him or Kevin Costner in Waterworld.  No lugging heavy dive gear around, no running out of air, no decompression sickness, no getting cold.  Just relaxing in the most beautiful of coral; Over 100 Ft under water on a WWII wreck.  Mem0 might see the occasional shark or barracuda or “visitor” but all he has to do is swim back into his house, inside the barrel of a 50 MM gun.  Pretty ironic that he lives and takes shelter in a weapon that had once been used to kill a lot of people.

This part of the South Pacific is rich in WWII history.  It’s strange that the majority of people know nothing about the war in the Pacific.  At least I didn’t know anything about it.  Everyone knows about the war in Europe and all about Hitler.  A lot of you may have heard of Pearl Harbor due to Ben Affleck’s phenomenal acting skills.  But WWII had much more to it then a gay, half-Jew Nazi with a ridiculously cool mustache.  It also had more to it then Mr. Affleck.  This was the point where the Japanese were about to take over the free world.  Does the name Guadalcanal sound familiar?  That’s about the only name that rang a bell as I looked at a map of the Solomon Islands about 5 months ago.  After being here a month or so I can put it simply:  By 1942 the Japanese had taken over all of South East Asia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and the majority of the Solomons.  Their next target was New Caledonia, then Australia, New Zealand and the rest of the South Pacific until they made it to America.  It’s pretty ridiculous that I learned absolutely none of this in a text book.  And if it was in a text book would I really have cared?  There were over 50,000 American soldiers alone that passed through the Solomons……04802484 of which lost there lives here.  There are 100’s of wrecks in the passage known as “the slot” between Guadalcanal and the Florida Islands.  In fact, the spot we are now anchored is known as Iron Bottom Sound due to all the wrecks.  You can imagine the amazing scuba diving in this area.

WWII has been the new theme of Delos.  Vanuatu brought us kastom, volcanoes and culture but the Solomons are bringing us history and a lot of diving.  We have dove a B-17 bomber, also known as the “flying fortress”.  A Japanese submarine, a Japanese troop carrier known as Bonegi 1, and a Kawanishi flying boat (similar to a Catalina Sea Plane).  We also dove an amazing site called the twin tunnels, which are 2 extinct lava tubes in the middle of a reef and the World Discoverer Cruise ship that hit a rock in 2000 and sits 90% out of the water.  We haven’t even scratched the surface of the diving world here but we are trying our best.  Below are some pictures of our dives so far in the Solomon Islands.

B-17 flying fortress

North Western Guadalcanal.  65 ft. max depth.

The plane runs parallel to the shore about 200 ft. off.  You are able to see the shape of the plane and the remains of the cockpit.  The bottom is pretty silty so visibility can be bad if it is kicked up.

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B-17 cockpit and controls…

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Japanese Sub

Western Tip of Guadalcanal.  100 Ft. max depth.

The Submarine starts in about 20 Ft. of water and slopes down the reef.  The shallowest parts aren’t so intact but the in the deeper areas you can actually see the shape of the sub and swim inside.  A local in a dug out canoe helped us find it but we were charged a small kastom fee of $25 Solomon dollars per person (about $7.50 US).

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Stern of the sub

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Bonegi 1 Japanese Troop Carrier

North side of Guadalcanal.  West of Honiara.  180 Ft. max depth.
Amazing dive and pretty easy to find.  If you see the Bonegi 2 with its engine block sticking out of the water your too far West.  Bonegi 1 lies about ¼ mile East of Bonegi 2 in a bit of a cove.  The ship starts very shallow around 15 Ft., lays on her port side and is beautiful all the way back.  Lots of swim through’s  and good coral.

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Top of Bonegi 1

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Inside Bonegi 1

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Twin Tunnels Lava Tubes

South South-West of Tulagi Island 125 Ft. max depth

This is an amazing dive that starts in about 40 Ft.  There are two extinct lava tubes that go straight down to about 120 Ft.  They are joined here with a big cave that leads to the outer reef wall where you can see many pelagic fish.

There are 2 sets of moorings here, both under about 6 Ft. of water.  The most South Western one is directly north of the first tube.  We also did a night dive here.  Beautiful bio-luminescence and a few flash light fish in the cave.

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Japanese Kawanishi “Mavis” Flying Boat — GETTING WARM NOW, TREA$URE SEEKER! 🙂

Near Ghavutu island in Tulagi Bay 105 Ft. max depth.

This plane is 90% intact with the starboard wing sitting just off the bow in 90 Ft.  There is a mooring here which is 6 Ft. below the surface but easy to spot.  The mooring line is tied directly to the bow of the plane.  The cockpit and port side of the plane are very intact and interesting.  You can find bullets on the bow near the cockpit and sake bottles on top of the starboard wing.

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Wing Float

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Japanese Bullets

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Japanese Sake!!!

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Pilot gauges

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World Discoverer

Roderick bay, North Sandfly passage, Western Florida Islands.  55 Ft. max depth.

This German Cruise liner hit a rock in the passage in 2000.  It was able to make it into Roderick bay.  To keep the ship from sinking the Capt. drove it up onto the reef to salvage it.  It now sits above water in a beautiful bay surrounded by jungle.  Even if you are not a diver this is a cool site to see.  The ship lies about 25 degrees to starboard and is fully intact.  You can dive under the ship in about 30-50 Ft. and look through the rubble that has fallen out or broken off.  Snorkeling is just as good around the ship.  You will probably be yelled at from the beach by the land owner asking for a “donation” which is a set price of $25 Solomon dollars per person.  You only have to pay the fee if you climb on the ship or go to the beach.

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You could fall through the rusting deck at any point…

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Nothing better then an underwater toilet

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Telephone and fire extinguisher under the wreck

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Me on the bow spotting shallow areas

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Go A’murica

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And New Zealand!!!

Team Delos

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GPS COORDINATES AND DIVE INFO.  See www.michaelmcfaydenscuba.info